Govt showing no interest in strict implementation of PSGA

Appellate Authorities, Nodal Officers on papers only
No review at State, district level since long

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Sept 22: Despite the fact that Union Ministry of Home Affairs has not repealed the Jammu and Kashmir Public Services Guarantee Act keeping in view its importance in ensuring timely Government services to the people, the State Administration is not showing any interest in strict implementation of the landmark law passed by the State Legislature over eight years back. Moreover, some provisions of the Act have not received due attention of the concerned authorities till date.
The Jammu and Kashmir Public Services Guarantee Act was passed by the State Legislature in the year 2011 in order to ensure that people of the State get different services from the Government departments within the specified time limit. This Act has been retained by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir State Reorganization Act passed by the Parliament early last month for being the people friendly initiative.
From time to time a number of services of different departments were brought under the purview of this landmark legislation but during the past quite long time no serious interest is being shown on the implementation aspect.
Last year some more services were included by the Governor’s Administration and it was announced at that time that all steps will be initiated to ensure strict implementation of the law. However, the announcement has not been translated into reality till date, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
“During the past over one year no meeting has been convened to review implementation of the Act at the State level”, sources while disclosing that General Administration Department is supposed to initiate steps in this regard. Similarly, majority of the Deputy Commissioners have not bothered to ascertain whether the provisions of the Act are being strictly adhered to by the concerned departments at the district level. How Government would come to know about the hurdles in the implementation of the Act in the absence of periodic review meetings, sources wondered.
The Section 8 of the Act states: “The Government may by notification in the gazette designate officers who shall be the First Appellate Authorities and Second Appellate Authorities in respect of each public service” . The Section 9 of the Act states: “The Appellate Authorities while deciding an appeal under the Act, shall have the same powers as are vested in the Civil Court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure in respect of requiring the production and inspection of documents, issuing summons for hearing the designated officer and appellant and for any matter which may be prescribed”.
The objective behind setting up First Appellate Authorities is to ensure that any person, whose application has been rejected or who doesn’t receive the public service within the specified timeline, or where the service received by him is deficient in any manner may prefer to file an appeal within 30 days from the date of such rejection or expiry of the time limit or receipt of deficient service as the case may be. As per the Act, the First Appellate Authority shall dispose of the appeal within a period of 45 days from the date of presentation of appeal.
However, nobody knows whether the First Appellate Authorities have been designated by the Government as information in this regard is not available either in the Government offices or on the website of the General Administration Department, which is the Nodal Agency to supervise the implementation of Public Services Guarantee Act. Moreover, the website of GAD doesn’t have information about the State Level Nodal Officers to monitor the implementation of Act.
“Though Additional District Development Commissioners have been designated as Nodal Officers at the district level yet in some districts the posts of ADDCs are lying vacant and in such a situation review of implementation is not possible”, sources further said, adding “all this indicates that implementation aspect has not received the due attention of the successive Governments and Governor’s Administration”.
The Public Services Guarantee Act has not been repealed by the Ministry of Home Affairs under J&K Reorganization Act and it shall continue to remain in force in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh. “It is a matter of concern that MHA understands the importance of the law but not the concerned authorities of the State Administration”, sources said and stressed that Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam should intervene to ensure that people reap the benefits of the law in real sense.


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